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21 March 2019 - Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Commissioners

Location: Victoria Square House, Birmingham (Boardroom)


  • Bill Moyes (Chair)
  • John Baillie
  • Carol Brady
  • Stephen Cohen
  • Alison Hastings
  • Sarika Patel
  • Trevor Pearce
  • Simone Pennie
  • Jonathan Scott
  • Catharine Seddon

Executive directors:

  • Vic Beaumont
  • Nicky Heathcote
  • Paul Hope
  • Philip Lloyd
  • Neil McArthur
  • Tim Miller
  • David Pemberton
  • Helen Venn
  • Richard Watson

In attendance:

  • Teresa Camey (item 3)
  • (REDACTED) (item 3)
  • (REDACTED) (items 4 & 6)
  • (REDACTED) (item 4)
  • 2CV (item 4)
  • (REDACTED) (item 5)
  • Helen Rhodes (item 5)
  • (REDACTED) (item 5)
  • Anna Howe (item 7)
  • (REDACTED) (item 11)
  • Ben Barter (Chief of Staff)
  • Oliver Sweeney (Legal)
  • (REDACTED) (notes)


  • None

Welcome, apologies and declarations of interest

There were no new declarations of interest. Bill Moyes welcomed (REDACTED) and (REDATCED) from Deloitte, who were observing the meeting as part of the Board Effectiveness Review.

1. Minutes, rolling actions and forward look

The minutes of the meeting held on 28 February 2019 were approved.

The rolling actions were reviewed, and updates agreed.

The forward look was reviewed, with Ben Barter noting that a fully updated version will be provided at the May 2019 Board meeting, reflecting plans for the new financial year.

2. Chair’s business

The Board noted the Chair’s report, with Bill Moyes providing further updates regarding Commissioner appointments and recruitment to the Governance team.

The Board noted support for the proposals outlined in Annexe A to the report, which relate to Committee membership and associated changes to the relevance Terms of References (ToRs). Formal approval for these proposals will now be sought via correspondence.

The Board provided positive feedback on the previous day’s workshop and dinner, noting that both were highly informative.

3. National Lottery Competition

(REDACTED) provided a brief update on recent engagement with DCMS, prior to the presentations to Board on a number of key policy themes.

Due propriety

The Board noted the paper.

Player protection

The Board noted the paper.

4. Quarterly Insight Session

(REDACTED) and (REDACTED) of 2CV presented to the Board as part of an ongoing series of items for discussion delivered by the Insight team.

The insight session focussed on understanding how gambling fits into people’s day to day lives, including:

  • contextualising a ‘normal’ gambler
  • gambling drivers
  • gambling and personal passions
  • maintaining ‘normal’ gambling behaviour.

The subsequent discussion centred on a range of topics, in particular the challenges to a traditional definition of problem gambling, the emerging trends within football betting, and issues with direct marketing and its relationship with product development.

Bill Moyes thanked (REDACTED) and (REDACTED) on behalf of the Board for their time and valuable contribution.

5. National Strategy to reduce gambling harms

The Board noted the paper, providing comments on the content of the Foreword, Approach and Delivery sections of the strategy. Key points centred upon:

  • ensuring that it is suitably clear that not all of the actions will be delivered by the Commission
  • ensuring that the Foreword places appropriate emphasis on the behaviour of operators, particularly in regard to product development.

Helen Rhodes confirmed that these points would be considered further and invited any further comments from Board to be shared by correspondence. It was noted that this would need to be completed at pace, as the latest draft would be shared with DCMS and the NHS on 25 March 2019.

Action: Board members to send any further significant points on the draft strategy to Helen Rhodes by close of business on Monday 25 March 2019.

The Board approved:

  • the content of the draft national strategy, with particular focus on the three new sections: foreword, approach and delivery
  • the delegation of responsibility for reviewing and signing-off the final iteration of the strategy to the Chair and Chief Executive.

6. Summary of best practice programme for industry including publications and events

The Board received a presentation from Helen Venn and (REDACTED), which provided an update on the suite of engagement undertaken in recent months with operators. Key points noted were as follows:

  • insight and Compliance have undertaken the vast majority of the work on the programme, a good example of collaboration across the Commission
  • a lot of work has been done on increasing and improving publications, such as our enforcement report, which has been very well received
  • continued collaboration is planned throughout the next year, leading up to our next Raising Standards event, which is likely to take place in Q1 2020.

Following discussion, the Board agreed it would be useful to have a workshop in the summer around responsible product design.

Action: Ben Barter to agree a date for a workshop on the topic of responsible product design, working with (REDACTED) and Helen Venn.

7. Licensing update

The Board noted the paper and received a presentation from Anna Howe which summarised the content into four key themes: Automation, Measures, Themes, Vision.

From the resulting discussion, the following key points were noted:

  • while we intend to progress further towards full automation, more complex aspects of applications are likely to always require manual input
  • licensing work is becoming increasingly more complex, with the implications of this to be considered as part of work on the potential Fees Review
  • The Board has appetite for further information and assurance on test houses, and to understand how we benchmark our performance against other regulators. to give assurance and Helen Venn suggested a session could be scheduled once the consultation phase has ended.

Actions: Helen Venn to advise a date for a test houses presentation to Board, which is likely to follow the consultation phase. Governance to share the benchmarking analysis completed as part of the work on times and decisions to the Board Reading Room.

8. Changes to Regulatory panels

The Board noted the paper, with Oliver Sweeney providing a recap of previous discussions on this subject.

9. Changes to complaints policy

The Board noted the paper and were advised that comments had already been shared by various members of the Board for incorporation within a final version of the policy.

Broad support for the proposals and content of the policy was evident, and on that basis it was agreed that a final version of the policy will be shared for approval by the Board by correspondence.

Action: Ben Barter to circulate a final version of the revised complaints policy for approval by the Board by correspondence, incorporating key comments sourced from Board members.

10. Finance report

The Board noted the paper, with no further questions being raised.

11. Final 2019-20 Business Plan and Budget, Reserve Strategy and Medium-Term Financial Plan

The Board noted the paper and annexes, with David Pemberton and Philip Lloyd summarising the key points relating to adjustments in the numbers from the previous iteration of the paper, the reserves position, further information provided regarding efficiencies, and the updated draft milestones.

Following further discussion, the Board approved:

  • The Business Plan and Budget
  • the resulting use of reserves to cover the shortfall between planned income and expenditure
  • that the Executive Group seek permission from DCMS for the use of the reserves to fund the budget deficit
  • delegation to the Executive Group for the drafting of the public business plan summary and discussions arising from that with DCMS.

12. Review of the meeting

The Board noted that the previous evening’s dinner with (REDACTED), 2CV, was extremely insightful and informative, and was keen to understand how this insight would be taken forwards in conjunction with the findings from the Quarterly Insight Update provided at the main Board meeting.

The length of Board papers was briefly discussed, and it was suggested that more work could be done to shorten papers and ensure that only the information the Board genuinely requires is provided. It was also noted that some items, such as the Complaints policy approval, could be facilitated by correspondence in future.

13. Any Other Business

No other business was raised.

14. Closed session – Commissioners and CEO

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